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darkeningday
xXdArKenIngDayXx

Joined: Mon Aug 23, 2004 1:20 pm
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 22, 2011 7:49 pm 
 

http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/09/ ... CW20110922

As I've no extensive knowledge of physics I'm not entirely certain to what degree these findings will impact the institution of physics or science in general. Still, this is a (potentially) huge discovery and certainly shakes a pretty well established tenant to its core.

Since the "physics major" thread generated a pretty sizable discussion here, it'd be great if a few the more knowledgeable folk could spell out in laymen's terms what effect these findings could have on the scientific community. Will this be a "ground-up" restructuring, or just a wallpaper change?
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Oblarg
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 22, 2011 7:50 pm 
 

Most likely this is false and there was something wrong with the experiment.

If not, CERN just broke special relativity and everything we know about modern physics is essentially wrong.
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Animicantus
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 22, 2011 9:36 pm 
 

Oblarg wrote:
Most likely this is false and there was something wrong with the experiment.

If not, CERN just broke special relativity and everything we know about modern physics is essentially wrong.


Should be interesting. Can't wait to see if this is an error or not.
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Thashierthanthou
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 22, 2011 9:38 pm 
 

So... In laymans terms, E no longer equals MC^2?
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Oblarg
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 22, 2011 9:46 pm 
 

Thashierthanthou wrote:
So... In laymans terms, E no longer equals MC^2?


...If this is true.
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~Guest 226319
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 22, 2011 9:53 pm 
 

E could still equal MC^2, but there are no patrol cars enforcing C anymore.

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Animicantus
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 22, 2011 9:55 pm 
 

Oblarg wrote:
Thashierthanthou wrote:
So... In laymans terms, E no longer equals MC^2?


...If this is true.


I'm agreeing with Oblarg that this is most likely wrong, but I've already stated my excitement to hear the final verdict from the general scientific community.
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It also sounds like he says "The raven licks my asshole" as the first vocal line there. It never fails to crack me up.

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soul_schizm
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 22, 2011 9:57 pm 
 

Most likely an instrument error, or a crazy exception that will not mean general relativity is wrong.

You can hold off on burning your physics textbook. Although, the next edition may need to include an addendum.

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Animicantus
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 22, 2011 10:28 pm 
 

I have this hysterical image in my head of this being right and all the physicists just standing there like "fuck...what now?"
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defyexistance wrote:
It also sounds like he says "The raven licks my asshole" as the first vocal line there. It never fails to crack me up.

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soul_schizm
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 22, 2011 10:39 pm 
 

Well.....maybe that would be OK.

It could spark some amazing new discoveries, if true. Actually, it probably would.

It could be an incomplete theory. Not *wrong*, exactly, but possibly just missing some of the more extreme cases.

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~Guest 226319
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 22, 2011 10:50 pm 
 

I don't think the universe will be unmade because a consciousness has discovered a crappy TOE like in that sci-fi book I read... So some new revelations will only result in new exciting sci-news for sci-nerds. There is no possible downside.

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AppleQueso
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 22, 2011 11:10 pm 
 

Excuse my naivete, but haven't quantum mechanics been spitting in the face of known physics for a long time now?

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~Guest 226319
President Satan

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 22, 2011 11:14 pm 
 

Yes, but the newtonians have finally convinced people that the permanent stain on their cheek is a birthmark. This would be a new gob slowly creeping down the other side.

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Eh_Timeghoul
Be gentle, I was... Born This Way

Joined: Mon Apr 25, 2011 4:35 pm
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 23, 2011 2:17 am 
 

until they invent my hyperdive system and the Millenium Falcon to go with it, physics can fuck off

(i'm kidding but really....this shit goes over my head so i really don't care about it)

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Expedience
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 23, 2011 2:51 am 
 

I never understood why light should be considered the fastest anyway. Yeah, I've had it explained to me but it was always with an air of authority that cannot be questioned - "we just KNOW it's the fastest, okay?". Scientists defending Newton's ideas back then would have said the same thing.

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oneyoudontknow
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 23, 2011 3:14 am 
 

experiments need to be verified and as long as such has not happened, all what exists now is a vague and confusing result. To get a definite answer on this problem will take some additional years.

Animicantus wrote:
I have this hysterical image in my head of this being right and all the physicists just standing there like "fuck...what now?"

they are not hysterical. They might want to set up the same experiment again and wait whether the result will be the same. That how science works. One single result proves nothing.
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Terri23
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 23, 2011 3:28 am 
 

Physics is proven wrong all the time. Its a constantly evolving science. This is hardly a revelation in terms of science, and its hardly going to terrify physicists the world over.

Having said that, its an interesting discovery nonetheless.
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matras
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 23, 2011 4:08 am 
 

Expedience wrote:
I never understood why light should be considered the fastest anyway. Yeah, I've had it explained to me but it was always with an air of authority that cannot be questioned - "we just KNOW it's the fastest, okay?". Scientists defending Newton's ideas back then would have said the same thing.


The fastest is the speed of darkness... since no matter how fast light travels, darkness is always there first to greet it. :wink:

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hells_unicorn
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 23, 2011 4:47 am 
 

Expedience wrote:
I never understood why light should be considered the fastest anyway. Yeah, I've had it explained to me but it was always with an air of authority that cannot be questioned - "we just KNOW it's the fastest, okay?". Scientists defending Newton's ideas back then would have said the same thing.


That's probably because light has been the fastest thing we've been able to observe up until now (I know, provided that this isn't a fluke created by an instrumental glitch). Every law that has been dreamed up for any field of knowledge is contingent on the limitations of human understanding, and it looks like those boundaries have expanded slightly here. Nevertheless, the article itself is careful to maintain that verification will probably take a number of years, and I would speculate that E=MC2 will remain useful (as it has for so long) in that it provides a concrete standard of measurement of speed and movement. I've read previously that it might be possible for the speed of light to be increased (and thus, most likely also decreased provided the proper conditions exist), but the constant standard of measurement, like the concept of a singular point of origin in plotting a course in space, will always be useful as a starting point in a number of equations with real, practical applications.

The thing I find puzzling about this whole thing is how everybody likes to divide schools of thought within the scientific realm into parties/camps, as if it were some sort of political contest. I wonder what Newton and Einstein would think of people claiming their name and fighting with each other over theories that are both subject to correction in the name of progress.
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ArtificialStupidity
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 23, 2011 8:13 am 
 

Einstein never stated that particles couldn't move at speeds higher than the speed of light, it would just require nearly infinite amount of energy. Neutrinos as particles are so tiny that the acceleration becomes possible. I'm sure that in the future physicists will find even smaller particles that can move at even higher speeds. I find quantum entanglement more fascinating, where information can travel through the whole universe in no time.
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TheNiceNightmare
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 23, 2011 8:27 am 
 

ArtificialStupidity wrote:
I find quantum entanglement more fascinating, where information can travel through the whole universe in no time.


Ships travelling on bad news? ;-)

Seriously though, this is cool stuff.
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sortalikeadream
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 23, 2011 9:17 am 
 

hells_unicorn wrote:
I've read previously that it might be possible for the speed of light to be increased (and thus, most likely also decreased provided the proper conditions exist)


It can already be decreased. 3*10^8 m/s is the speed of light in a vacuum; it slows down depending on the medium it is traveling through.
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Oblarg
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 23, 2011 10:49 am 
 

Expedience wrote:
I never understood why light should be considered the fastest anyway. Yeah, I've had it explained to me but it was always with an air of authority that cannot be questioned - "we just KNOW it's the fastest, okay?". Scientists defending Newton's ideas back then would have said the same thing.


Because, simply put, light is constant in all reference frames. If you measure the speed of light while moving at .9c, you'll get the same number as if you'd measured it at rest. Moving faster than the speed of light would break the Lorentz transformation, which is one of the most basic underpinnings of modern physics.

Quote:
I find quantum entanglement more fascinating, where information can travel through the whole universe in no time.


Actually, this isn't true - entanglement alone can't be used as a means of communication, and it doesn't send "information." It can be used to send information about a quantum state, but that method is indeed bounded by speed of light delay.

Quote:
It can already be decreased. 3*10^8 m/s is the speed of light in a vacuum; it slows down depending on the medium it is traveling through.


Yes, but the speed of light referred to in relativity, that nothing can move faster than, is the speed of light in a vacuum. In fact, you can easily have particles moving faster than the speed of light in a medium, and when you do you get an electromagnetic shock wave called Cherenkov radiation. This is actually how most neutrino detectors work - a neutrino moving through a vat of water will be moving faster than the speed of light in that medium.
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unicornmeat
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 23, 2011 11:00 am 
 

This is all pretty interesting. Apparently there's a press conference going on at CERN right now.

One thing when things like this happen in physics though - although the theories you might have learned up til that point have been disproven or overturned, physicists are always excited by the idea of new physics to do.
For instance, if they never find the Higgs boson it will seriously mess with the standard model of particle physics and the search for a new one will begin.
In short - more jobs for me and my classmates when we graduate :D


Btw, for the physics-savvy (and the curious), here is the full report from the people who did the experiment:
http://arxiv.org/pdf/1109.4897v1

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kale100
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 23, 2011 11:18 am 
 

I don't know if this makes sense but...it could have both gotten there faster than light and have not violated the speed of light. There is one thing that can move faster than the speed of light, space. The universe is 150 billion light years in diameter, yet only 13.7 billion years old. Maybe the neutrinos were in a piece of expanding space.

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oneyoudontknow
Cum insantientibus furere necesse est.

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 23, 2011 1:41 pm 
 

Cern webcast:
Quote:
New results from OPERA on neutrino properties / Autiero, Dario (speaker) (Institut de Physique Nucleaire de Lyon)

http://cdsweb.cern.ch/collection/Video%20Lectures
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Dudemanguy
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 23, 2011 2:22 pm 
 

This comic is pretty much how I feel about this whole thing.

http://www.xkcd.com/955/

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Young_Metalhead
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Joined: Wed Sep 19, 2007 10:17 pm
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 23, 2011 2:24 pm 
 

Apparently it has been confirmed by CERN personal today. We'll just have to wait for new experiments saying "hey, this guys were right!!!". As in any science results should be the same no matter how many times (and in how many places) the experiment is done.

Let's see what happens.

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Animicantus
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 23, 2011 5:54 pm 
 

oneyoudontknow wrote:
experiments need to be verified and as long as such has not happened, all what exists now is a vague and confusing result. To get a definite answer on this problem will take some additional years.

Animicantus wrote:
I have this hysterical image in my head of this being right and all the physicists just standing there like "fuck...what now?"

they are not hysterical. They might want to set up the same experiment again and wait whether the result will be the same. That how science works. One single result proves nothing.


I meant hysterical as in funny. I consider myself a budding scientist. I was referring to after they've rerun the experiment twice (I believe three makes a pattern?), and they got the same results.
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defyexistance wrote:
It also sounds like he says "The raven licks my asshole" as the first vocal line there. It never fails to crack me up.

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sortalikeadream
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 23, 2011 6:26 pm 
 

My amateur opinion is that if it proves to be true it will mean tweaking the theory, not abandoning it entirely.

Fascinating stuff, regardless.
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imthatguy666
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 23, 2011 7:17 pm 
 

Time to exploit this quirk in relativity a build the Event Horizon
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Oblarg
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 23, 2011 7:31 pm 
 

sortalikeadream wrote:
My amateur opinion is that if it proves to be true it will mean tweaking the theory, not abandoning it entirely.

Fascinating stuff, regardless.


Well, yeah, it's not like special relativity will have to be thrown out entirely and all of our GPS's will stop working or something. Most likely if this is true it'll just be some weird quirk of neutrinos or relativity will be a limiting behavior of some sort.
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manowar are literally five times the band that fates warning are: each member is as good as fates warning alone, then joey's bass solos are like an entire extra fates warning

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hells_unicorn
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 23, 2011 8:05 pm 
 

imthatguy666 wrote:
Time to exploit this quirk in relativity a build the Event Horizon


:lol: And then if someone survives the whole ordeal, they can relay the experience to all of our favorite bands to find out how close they were to the real thing lyrically.
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DrFunkenstein
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 24, 2011 10:47 am 
 

This can only lead to good things. Science, unlike other faiths, loves to be proven wrong.

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Thrashedtofuck
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 24, 2011 10:55 am 
 

Oblarg wrote:
Yes, but the speed of light referred to in relativity, that nothing can move faster than, is the speed of light in a vacuum. In fact, you can easily have particles moving faster than the speed of light in a medium, and when you do you get an electromagnetic shock wave called Cherenkov radiation. This is actually how most neutrino detectors work - a neutrino moving through a vat of water will be moving faster than the speed of light in that medium.



Cherenkov radiation looks really cool too! I used to work at a nuclear power plant and got to see it first hand! (I was essentially a peon there though so don´t get too impressed haha, I´ve seen most of the stuff in a nuclear plant but that´s because it was me cleaning that shit ;) )

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oneyoudontknow
Cum insantientibus furere necesse est.

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 24, 2011 11:25 am 
 

http://cdsweb.cern.ch/record/1384486
A two-hour presentation of the issue by CERN.

Alternative sites:
http://dl.groovygecko.net/anon.groovy/clients/cern/index1.html
http://www.elmundo.es/especiales/2011/09/ciencia/cern/index.html
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Jigglefactor
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 24, 2011 3:10 pm 
 

I'm going to have to agree with Oblarg and co. that this is probably wrong and that this exact claim has been made before, although not at this level of precision (on the other hand they inflate their precision a bit in the way they handle systematic errors vs. statistical errors). My bets are on either ambiguities in defining when exactly the original neutrinos are emitted (they can't measure this for any one event and have to do a complicated averaging scheme) or some mundane lack of precision in the GPS determination of the distance between the source and target. I have a hard time believing they've calculated to high enough order in the post newtonian expansion (an approximation to general relativity used in cases where relativistic corrections are very small) to have a resolution of 20cm which they claim in the paper. Although this is just my gut feeling, I don't follow PN research closely so take this with a grain of salt.

Here are a few write ups by expert particle physicists/cosmologists:

http://motls.blogspot.com/2011/09/poten ... earch.html (Lubos is a bit nutty sometimes, but he's right on the money with this one)
http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/cosmi ... #more-7481
http://profmattstrassler.com/2011/09/23 ... neutrinos/

AppleQueso wrote:
Excuse my naivete, but haven't quantum mechanics been spitting in the face of known physics for a long time now?

In the late 19th century perhaps. Now it's one of the pillars of modern physics.

Expedience wrote:
I never understood why light should be considered the fastest anyway. Yeah, I've had it explained to me but it was always with an air of authority that cannot be questioned - "we just KNOW it's the fastest, okay?". Scientists defending Newton's ideas back then would have said the same thing.

The fact that we say the speed of light is the fastest is merely historical because we knew light the best back when these things were discovered. More properly you could say there is some universal speed limit at which massless particles such as photons (speed of light), gluons (speed of the strong force between quarks) and gravitons (speed of gravity) travel.

oneyoudontknow wrote:
they are not hysterical. They might want to set up the same experiment again and wait whether the result will be the same. That how science works. One single result proves nothing.

It's not like they only measured one event of superluminal neutrinos, rather it was ~10000. The trouble now is to see if the result can reproduced elsewhere.

hells_unicorn wrote:
The thing I find puzzling about this whole thing is how everybody likes to divide schools of thought within the scientific realm into parties/camps, as if it were some sort of political contest. I wonder what Newton and Einstein would think of people claiming their name and fighting with each other over theories that are both subject to correction in the name of progress.

While it's not ideal, there are definitely different parties/camps in just about every subfield on just about every open problem. Every group thinks their way is the right way, the best way, deserves more funding, whatever. Some of these rivalries are amicable while others ridiculously bitter.

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oneyoudontknow
Cum insantientibus furere necesse est.

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 24, 2011 4:48 pm 
 

Jigglefactor wrote:

First thing you do with such links:
check the sources and all three fail in this respect. The first has none, the second has some, but hardly any scientific one and the third has only in-site stuff.
I rather stick with the stuff from CERN.
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darkeningday
xXdArKenIngDayXx

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 24, 2011 5:36 pm 
 

Those are just gut-reaction, blogosphere conjecture by (somewhat) accredited professors, not peer-reviewed journals that would take weeks to get published. What's wrong with getting a different perspective?
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Oblarg
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 24, 2011 5:39 pm 
 

oneyoudontknow wrote:
First thing you do with such links:
check the sources and all three fail in this respect. The first has none, the second has some, but hardly any scientific one and the third has only in-site stuff.
I rather stick with the stuff from CERN.


For what it's worth, the initial reaction from basically everyone with a Ph.D. in physics that I have spoken to about this has been "it's probably wrong," so it's not as if doubting this is unfounded.
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